Doctor’s Orders 

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Unfortunate fact: the world is a stressful place. 

Amazing fact: there are books. 

I don’t need to tell you that the many responsibilities, current events, and dramas of our world and lives hold our minds captive on a never-ending loop. Whether we know it or not, thoughts of the future and the past, that exam we failed, and the hard conversation we need to have are always running sneakily through our brains. We deserve a rest from the exhaustion, and I think we all know the ink and paper cure for it. 

In an article posted by the University of Minnesota, they share that “the University of Sussex found that reading can reduce stress by up to 68%. It works better and faster than other relaxation methods, such as listening to music or drinking a hot cup of tea.” I recommend both a soothing cup of tea and a comforting playlist, but I have to agree that I can feel the grip of the real world loosening when I find myself far, far away from my problems. Imagine the stress you feel right now more than halved just by taking a little bit of time to open up a book to access the healing power of story. 

I was probably flocking to this secret benefit of reading before I even knew I was doing so. Now, the tug of desire to spend time with characters who know me without needing to know me emerges whenever things begin to go a little awry. Who am I to deny that feeling?

If you’re looking to drop your stress by 68%, here are some bookish prescriptions you can try:

  • A favorite book
  • A book attached to childhood memories 
  • A story that inspires you 
  • A fantasy novel that transports you
  • A low-stakes story for a light read
  • An intense, conflict-driven plot to invest in 
  • A short book to take the pressure off 
  • A long book to prolong the inevitable “the end”
  • A recommendation from a friend who knows just what you need

My stress relief this week came in the form of The House in the Cerulean Sea by T.J. Klune. It’s wholesome, it’s cozy, it’s full of characters who make you wipe happy tears, and it speaks to the little kid in all of us who wants nothing more than to make their way in the world with loved ones beside us. It transported me to a land of magically gifted kids and hearts that end up growing a few sizes. 

I challenge you not to let your stress fester this week. Reach out to a book– I think you’ll love the joy you find!